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Where Angels Fear to Tread
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Where Angels Fear to Tread

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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  9,982 Ratings  ·  661 Reviews
When a young English widow takes off on the grand tour and along the way marries a penniless Italian, her in-laws are not amused. That the marriage should fail and poor Lilia die tragically are only to be expected. But that Lilia should have had a baby -- and that the baby should be raised as an Italian! -- are matters requiring immediate correction by Philip Herriton, his ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published 1969 by Penguin (first published 1905)
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Trillian The full phrase is "fools rush in where angels fear to tread". It's originally a line from “An Essay on Criticism,” by Alexander Pope but has become a…moreThe full phrase is "fools rush in where angels fear to tread". It's originally a line from “An Essay on Criticism,” by Alexander Pope but has become a widely used phrase. I think the suggestion is that certain characters in the novel are fools. (less)

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Jean
Written in 1905, this was Forster's first novel. It is a comedy of manners, and does show signs of his great talent. Out of his four best-known novels though, this seems by far the weakest. I personally think it would have worked better as a novella or even a short story; later he did write very good short story collections.

The balance of this short novel feels wrong. The early descriptions of upper-class characters enmeshed in their own culture are really rather dull, and would have benefited f
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Duane
I'm always amused at the distain the haughty English aristocrat feels toward the average Italian and their incomprehensible ways and their attitude toward life. I've noticed it in several works of English literature and, not being English myself, I don't know if it really exists. I hope it is true, I won't have to change my perception of the 19th and early 20th century English. I like them that way, their style, their arrogance, if that's the right word, their belief that their way is the right ...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I only realized half way through that E M Forster was 26 when he wrote this which is his first. If I’d known that I wouldn’t have read it, I have a violent prejudice against novelists under 30. It’s too early to start. In other art forms it’s essential to be under 30 – the Beatles were in their mid-20s when they did Sgt Pepper, Brian Wilson was 23 and 24 when he created Pet Sounds and Smile, Picasso was churning out brilliant realist works in his mid-teens, and not to mention Mozart’s unpleasant ...more
Chrissie
This is my favorite by E.M. Forster. I gave A Room with a View three stars and A Passage to India four, but this is even better than that!

A love story that I love, and it is extremely short! I don't usually enjoy short novels. It is a classic worth being called a classic.

Forster captures different sorts of people and their respective ways of being. We have Harriet who is logical and straight thinking and Miss Caroline Abbott who wavers but recognizes the value of passion…..as well as its dange
...more
Scott
"Fools rush in ..."

I guess I'm a fool. I thought E. M. Forster was easy to read, almost too easy sometimes. Delighted with his nearly faultless prose, I read his thin first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), all in one afternoon. Forster tells the story of a young English widow who is seduced by her romantic vision of Italy and Italians and yearns to escape her controlling and snobbish in-laws in England. Her hasty marriage to a member of "Italian nobility" sets her English relations aflu
...more
Juliana
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favorite of the E.M. Forster novels I read. This one blew me away. When I turned the last page, I felt like I'd been catapulted out of the novel's world to find myself surprisingly in my own house with my own children around me. It absolutely sucked me in and had me crying and caring and wondering what would happen to each of the characters.

One of my favorite novels of all time.
booklady
Forester’s do-or-die question is: ‘Wilt thou love?’ Having read four of his novels—all very different in their plot—the underlying theme seems consistent in all. Is this a drawback or monotonous? Not to me as it happens to be something I often wonder myself, although my pondering tends to run along the why and how lines: ‘Why and/or how can some people so repeatedly and insistently refuse to love?’ Or maybe, continue to think that ‘being good’ is the same thing when it is not.

I needed to let a l
...more
Trish
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"The advance of regret can be so gradual that it is impossible to say "yesterday I was happy, today I am not."

This is another fast-paced, funny, tragic, and dramatic little novel by E.M. Forster. Being his first novel, it isn't as refined or mature as A Room with a View but Where Angels Fear to Tread stands its ground as a classic with its riveting plot, complex characters, and simple message. This book is anything but predictable and I highly recommend it as a vacation or weekend read.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Catching up with the classics # 21

Oh my word! How tragic is this book! It’s by far the best Forster I’ve read.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
My first Forster and a quick, easy, fun read. Oh, those silly English; so pompous and Protestant and detached. Oh, those wacky, ignorant Italians with their papist leanings, their saints and their layabout cafe culture. This is a silly culture clash novel with a male character who does not change (but thinks he does) and a female character who is deep and unknowable and full of well earned condescension toward men. In an odd way it reminds me of Revolutionary Road; or maybe just real life. I enj ...more
Eve
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
I thoroughly enjoyed it! Forster has an amazing gift for writing about raw emotions. I had to reread certain portions again and again, because I found myself thinking, "I know EXACTLY what he means!" Witty, dark, hopeful, romantic. This book had so many different facets to it.

I am curious to read more about Forster's Italy in A Room with a View. Again and again, we're shown the transformation that individuals undergo in "her" immense beauty.
Cecily
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Upper middle class family go to "rescue" the offspring of their son's widow (fathered by her new Italian husband; she died in childbirth). Evocative Italian setting and surprisingly "modern" idioms and turns of phrase ("Dinner was a nightmare.") and attitudes of some of the characters. Unexpected ending.

✨    jamieson   ✨
listen I like classics a lot... but this was a boring classic. I mean it has aesthetic appeal but fgjfs nothing happened this whole book is literally a custody battle

As per usual, I save my full review until after I've gone to the tutorial for this book and heard the smart postgrads opinions, because then I can steal and claim them for my review obviously.

rtc
رغد قاسم
أنتظرت ما يقارب العشر سنوات، أكثر أو أقل بسنة حتى المح هذا العنوان مجدداً بين الكتب
"مكان تخشاه الملائكة"
كنتً مررت بالعنوان بصورة خاطفة وأنا لا أزال طالبة في المدرسة، ولكنه بقي في ذهني ولطالما تمنيت أي فرصة للالتقاء بالعنوان مجدداً حتى حصل ذلك أخيراً.
سعيدة أنها رواية تستحق الانتظار ليس للرواية بحد ذاتها لكن للترجمة العظيمة، أتمنى أن أعرف أي شيء عن آمنة عبد الوهاب صاحبة هذهِ الترجمة الفذة.
منذ آخر رواية ترجمها بسام حجار لم أستمتع بهذا القدر في الالفاظ الدقيقة والرصينة بلا تكلف المستخدمة بالترجمة،
...more
Helga
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, classics
"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread"
Alexander Pope
E.M. Forster wrote this, his first novel, when he was 26 years old. It starts lightly, with a comic vein, but ends in tragedy. It was an engaging read.
Rebecca Foster
Forster’s first novel was published when he was just 26. In many ways it feels like a dress rehearsal for the themes and settings of A Room with a View, but with an awful histrionic ending that reads like a poor man’s version of Thomas Hardy. So, probably a 2.5 for me, but bumped up because it was very atmospheric reading on a trip to Tuscany last month. (See my Italian reading list on BookTrib.)

Here’s the story: Lilia Herriton, an English widow in her early thirties, sets out for a year in Ital
...more
Cori
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book is fairly highly acclaimed, I didn’t come anywhere close to loving it, especially like I loved A Room with a View. It was Forster’s first published novel, and I think it shows. The writing and the plot were just not as strong as they are in his other books I’ve read. It was sort of a tragi-comedy, with funny parts and some seriously tragic parts. It all felt a little uneven and not cohesive. I didn’t get swept up in the characters — I kept thinking that they were all selfish, ...more
notgettingenough
I went to see the film with somebody who is seriously Anglo-Saxon. So when we came out, we fell on each other. He was appalled at the way Italians respond to grief. I was appalled at the way the Anglo-Saxons do.

Not that I am a whole-hearted supporter of that Italian way of being emotional. Part of the reason I took up knitting was to learn to control my Italian 'fly off the handle and get it over and done with'. That isn't necessarily the wrong way to deal with things, but it certainly isn't alw
...more
Leni Iversen
3.5 stars.
A tragic yet entertaining story about not very sympathetic people, some of whom you end up liking anyway because of their sheer humanity and the humour and pathos with which they are portrayed. Though there is unfortunately some stereotyping, particularly national stereotyping.

Oddly, the character who at first appears to be the main character, isn't who the book is about at all, and the entire story is all there to show the personality change and growth in another character. There is n
...more
Emma Flanagan
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was Forster's first novel, though given its novella would be more accurate. While I enjoyed it, it is not as well developed as his later work. A number of the characters are poorly developed stereotypes. Mrs Herriton, the typical Victorian matriarch. Harriet the cold pious maiden aunt who has moments of hysteria in a manner befitting a Victorian lady. Lillia, despite being 33, is like a silly young girl who comes to regret her foolish choice. Gino a stereotypical Italian man. The only two c ...more
Laura
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, english-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marnie  Krüger
What an engaging read.

I love how Forster makes Italy this almost tangible part of the story, how Italy effects and influences the characters, making them do things differently and not even realize it. How Italy changes their opinions and feelings and everyone “falls” for it.

The plot moves along quickly, always leaving you wanting. Making this an easy two hour read.

I’ll defiantly try more of Forster’s books.
Rhiannon
Italy, Italy. People go there, I am told, to free themselves of the constraints of stuffy, modern life. To take part in its beauty, and really live. Ladies often go there to f*uck hot Italian guys, eat tasty treats, and possibly write a memoir all about their spiritual awakening and/or f*ucking that hot Italian guy.

Well, lady-characters in the turn of the century did the same thing! Minus the memoir part. They never got a chance to write their memoirs. No, their authors killed them off before th
...more
L.h.
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary people
My favorite quotation from the book: "He had known so much about her once -what she thought, how she felt, the reasons for her actions. And now he only knew that he loved her, and all the other knowledge seemed passing from him just as he needed it most."

I like Forster, and his portrayal of small people living in a small world, suddenly expanded by travel and exposure to people living passionately. Not as heartbreaking as some of his other novels, not as emotionally gripping as some other author
...more
Eileen
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the whole "clash of civilizations" notion
There is so much wisdom packed into this short, first novel. Forster's commentary on the misunderstandings and missed opportunities between people of different cultures and religions is still so relevant today. I read this book after seeing the movie and before I set to work on my own remixed version of the whole "stranger in a strange land" experience.
Tittirossa
Al di là degli stereotipi sugli italiani, come se fossero una tribù di scimmie (F. si dimentica di Leonardo e Michelangelo), come se l'unica cosa che conta nella vita fossero il riserbo e le "maniere" .... al di là di questo, grande ritratto grottesco sugli stereotipi inglesi.
Stephen
HEADLINE: This novel may have the most pathetic portrayal of a brawl between two men in the history of English literature, a sin that can be forgiven, however, given the unintentional comicality of it.




This is E. M. Forster's first novel. It shows. It is a short novel, one that would be classified as a novella if anyone truly knew exactly what constitutes a novella. It could be classified as a melodrama were it not for the development of the characters, particularly Philip. It is in the developme
...more
Tony
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD. (1905). E. M. Forster. ****.
This was Forster’s first novel, and remains, in my view, the most accessible of all the ones I’ve read. It displays early on most of the themes that Forster will take in his subsequent works, though in a sentimental manner. It is a story about the clash of cultures. In this case, most of the action takes place in a small (fictional?) town in Tuscany, located somewhere between Siena and Florence. The town was named Monteriano. This was also
...more
Wendy
I would call this a...fair exploration of human nature. There is a particular situation, and through that particular situation, we see the extent of a few characters' true natures. A couple of them are changed by the experience--the others are not. For its day (pre-World War I), it was probably more than fair. However, by today's standards, as a woman, I found it more than a little dated. I don't know what women were really like back then, since I'm not 100 years old--perhaps they did get a bit ...more
Tocotin
This was a fun and fast read although I'm a bit tired with Foster's view of Italy as a place where repressed/artificial people suddenly get an insight into their own nature. There is a good deal of condescension in that, and Italians are somewhat mean and puny compared to the culture that nourishes them.
A young English widow goes to Italy and marries a primitive Italian guy to the absolute horror of her controlling in-laws; has a baby; the in-laws want the baby in England just to make a point; t
...more
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86404
Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five
...more
More about E.M. Forster...
“I seem fated to pass through the world without colliding with it or moving it — and I'm sure I can't tell you whether the fate's good or evil. I don't die — I don't fall in love. And if other people die or fall in love they always do it when I'm just not there.” 58 likes
“All a child's life depends on the ideal it has of its parents. Destroy that and everything goes - morals, behavior, everything. Absolute trust in someone else is the essence of education.” 54 likes
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